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Animal models were used to show reduced skeletal and cardiac muscle contractions after exposure to triclosan

A chemical commonly found in hand soaps (among other household products) has been found to be harmful to both humans and the environment. 
The chemical is called triclosan, and it's a chemical that can be found in hand soaps, toothpastes, mouthwash, deodorants, clothes, bedding, carpets, toys, etc. It was introduced 40 years ago to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals. Over time, it has been used more and more for household purposes. 
However, researchers at the University of California - Davis and the University of Colorado have discovered that triclosan actually affects muscular strength in mice, swimming in fish and muscular contractions in skeletal and cardiac cells. 
The researchers reached these conclusions by first exposing living mice to doses of triclosan similar to that humans and animals would be in contact with on a daily basis. After 20 minutes of exposure, the mice had a 25 percent drop in heart function. They also had an 18 percent decrease in grip strength after an hour of exposure.
Next, researchers exposed fathead minnows to triclosan in order to see how the chemical affects life in waterways. After swimming in water containing triclosan for one week, the minnows experienced a huge drop in swimming speeds when participating in swimming tests of both normal conditions and those that simulate the threat of a predator chasing them.
Researchers then exposed isolated heart and skeletal cells to triclosan. The damage was significant, where triclosan disrupted molecular channels in muscle cells that guide the flow of calcium ions. This prevented protein communication that acts as these channels, leading to muscle failure in both the cardiac and skeletal cells. 
"The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic," said Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, co-author of the study from UC Davis. "Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models."
More research is likely needed before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will do anything about it, but the researchers aren't looking to ban the chemical entirely -- they just want to greatly decrease its ubiquity in household products. 
A separate study in 2010 also showed negative side effects associated with triclosan. University of Michigan researchers discovered that triclosan caused immune system problems in children under 18. 

Source: UC Davis

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RE: That's what you get
By geddarkstorm on 8/16/2012 12:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
If it's already in some of our water supplies, at biologically active levels, that explains a lot.

Recently, there was a paper that--through many different and independent measurements of activity and calorie burning--found there was no significant difference in energy expenditure between us living the modern life style, and hunter gatherer societies on the African savanna. So why are we fat? The over availability and terrible quality of food are main suspects; but also all these untested chemicals we are throwing around like cheap cigars.

How did no one notice the extreme effects of trilosan till now? 20 years of use (roughly when the obesity epidemic began, ironically), and just now we see how badly it depresses the heart and skeletal muscles? Sure, this isn't shown in humans yet, but if it affects our cultured cells, and animals as diverse phylogenetically as mice to fish, then you can safely bet it does the same to us in vivo.

Just... sigh. Been telling people for a long time there's something slipping into our diets that is messing up our metabolisms, in addition to calories and activity. And this certainly would screw over your basal metabolic rate and drive fat production/insulin resistance, since the body's muscles are so critical for regulating those functions.

There's a lot left unexplored in this (such as how easily it is absorbed through wet, scrubbing skin; or what this does in other organ tissues, and by what pathways this is working), but the correlation with growing trilosan uses to metabolic disorders is pretty obvious, and the implications pretty bad. Doesn't mean causation, as that will take a lot more and stronger evidence, and it could just be one contributing factor even if it is contributing at all; but these results are sobering.

Also think what this could do to the elderly, and those who are sick and already weakened.

RE: That's what you get
By FITCamaro on 8/16/2012 1:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
Obesity exists because people can't put down the damn spoon. And we live in a society where people put more of an emphasis on having iPhones and HDTVs and driving a "ballin" car than eating well.

RE: That's what you get
By geddarkstorm on 8/16/2012 3:29:20 PM , Rating: 3
Even if that explains it all for adults, it does not explain the growing rates for children, who's metabolisms should not be capable of sustaining obesity (should be no way for them to hold enough food in their bodies for that, when having proper metabolic function).

Moreover, this does not explain other first world nations which eat comparable amounts of food yet have far lower obesity rates. Take for instance Japan's 3.2% rate, Italy's 8.5% rate, France's 9.4% rate, Canada's 14.3% rate, or the UK's 23% rate, versus the US's 30.6% rate.

In fact, the second place to us is Mexico, with a 24.2% rate of obesity.

Also, Canada beats out us for the per dollar GDP spent on McDonalds (0.109 percent for US, 0.113 percent for Canada, with New Zeland spending the most on McDonalds). What the US truly wins at is soft drink consumption, by double the second place.

Yes, the US does have the highest calorie consumption, but barely, and if you look at all the other nations by calorie consumption, you do not see a correlation with obesity. For instance, the US per capita takes in 3770 kilocalories per day, while Austria (the second place) takes in 3760 per day, yet we have a 30.6% obesity rate while Austria is at 9.3%! Meanwhile, Mexico who is second place in obesity takes in 3250 kilocalories per day per capita, and is 31st down the list from highest to lowest.

Canada also takes in more Calories per day than UK (3530 vs 3440 respectively), yet Canada is substantially lower in obesity rate than the UK.

See, it -is not- simply the number of calories. It is not simply the activity level. The problem is way more complex which is why we biologists have not found a counter to it yet.

RE: That's what you get
By Ammohunt on 8/16/2012 4:42:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think it would be an error to try and pin our diseases or disorders on a single environmental contaminate. its more likely a cocktail of poisons in the environment that varies based on where you live. Colorado has the highest diagnosed cases of Multiple Sclerosis than anywhere else in the states why? Perhaps the atmospheric nuclear testing done here in the west that blew tons of radioactive debris into the atmosphere which was deposited all over the United States by prevailing winds. Strontium-90, caesium-134 and caesium-137(and other nastiness) all products of fission and readily absorbed by our bodies and plants/animals in our food supply. And don’t forget pesticides, chemical additives to everyday consumer items along with heavy metals which are pretty much everywhere in the soil air and water. My opinion is Triclosan is an unnecessary additive to soap when simply rubbing your hands with plain old soap for 30 seconds gets the majority of bad bacteria.

RE: That's what you get
By geddarkstorm on 8/16/2012 4:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely true. I agree with all you say, except I am not sure about MS and a connection with radioactive isotopes. MS is generally related to other factors and not radioactivity, as far as I know (and I could be outdated here). But it is a good example none the less.

There are a variety of factors in play, and total calories still have a role. But we are inundated with synthetic compounds these days, yet no one has paid much heed (if any) to how these things might be impacting our bioenergetics chronically. Toxicity for instance is typically tested with acute trials, not chronic. Fullerene, which has been around for well over 20 years, finally got its first chronic trial (and was found to double life span in rats, ironically enough), for instance, despite it being everywhere now since it's the chemical base for nanotubes and other carbon based nanotech.

But, any compound that reduced heart contractility by 25% (disrupting calcium channels, and affecting all skeletal muscle contractions) in live animals at the levels commonly encountered through such soaps, is something to immediately avoid. And it will very likely have a profound effect on metabolism over chronic periods of time; as muscles are one of the primary regulators of your insulin sensitivity and fat storage versus burning/waste signals. Start disrupting their ability to function, and you'll disrupt whole body energy balance.

RE: That's what you get
By Ammohunt on 8/16/2012 10:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever happened to phenotypes for humans? People now are classified by their BMI which it total BS since it doesn't account for muscle being heavier than fat. /rant
I agree body chemistry is so incredibly complex there is now good way to tell if an otherwise benign industrial chemical is acting on a cell receptor or as a hormone and just how that would manifest as symptoms. I think back when I grew up when leaded gas was the standard; I like to say before lead was poisonous and wonder as a child how much lead did I inadvertently inhale from exhaust?

RE: That's what you get
By Jeffk464 on 8/17/2012 10:30:26 AM , Rating: 2
What your saying is true, the reason they use BMI is its cheap and simple. More effective tests like the water displacement test are much more accurate. Or you could just have an expert that pinches people's fat around their mid sections and says, your fat. :)

To be fair the BMI does include a pretty wide range of normal weight to include different body types. It just misses the super thin framed and weight lifters.

RE: That's what you get
By Ammohunt on 8/17/2012 2:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
what frightens me is that the BMI will be used by the Government now to make judgements on what healthcare you receive or don't receive.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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